A battle of female flyweights at UFC Vegas 21 saw Cortney Casey face off against JJ Aldrich. At 1-1 since making the move to flyweight last year, “Cast Iron” Casey was looking to bounce back from a loss to Gillian Robertson. Aldrich, meanwhile, was 1-2 since returning to 125lbs in 2019, and hoping to rebound after falling to Sabina Mazo at UFC 246 last January.
With Aldrich entering her first pandemic-era fight, Casey at least had the edge in activity. And starting the fight, she was firing first, only to wind up on the outside. Aldrich held center, fending off Casey’s attacks until she was able to drive Casey into the fence, looking for the takedown. Casey fought that attempt off, landing a punch off the break. Another clinch would lead to a thudding knee from Casey, who was throwing hard and had Aldrich under fire. However, as Casey again closed the distance with her hands, it was Aldrich with a well timed takedown. That was big, but likely not enough to steal the round.
Casey began the second frame with some heavy shots, and jumped to take the back of Aldrich — but that resulted in Casey being on her back herself. She stayed active from bottom, at least initially. But that allowed Aldrich to get in a lot of top time, with Casey only making it back to her feet in the final thirty seconds of the frame. A clear round for Aldrich.
The third round very likely was going to be the difference maker. Casey had the clear edge on the feet in round one. Aldrich’s ground control gave her the edge in the second. Early in the third, it was Casey in her wheelhouse, landing some nasty combos. While Aldrich fired back, Casey had the edge — but with just over 90 seconds in the frame, Aldrich changed levels and scored the takedown. “Cast Iron” wisely made a b-line for the fence, dragging Aldrich with her and climbing back up. Casey then went to the body, and followed that moments later with a combination upstairs. Aldrich returned fire as well. The close round was capped with a late low blow off a spinning back kick by Aldrich. That paused the action with three seconds remaining. When it went to the judges, it was Aldrich getting the nod by split decision.
Official Result: JJ Aldrich def. Cortney Casey by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)